Around Christmas, I called my sister to get some ideas for presents for my nieces, ages 9 and 12. She told me that tween girls all loved the store, Justice. So, I drove to the mall to check it out. I did a circuit of the store and ran out. The clothes were too sparkly and silly. There were sweaters with sequined panda bears on sleds, sequined mini-skirts, and bedazzled jeans. It was trashy and infantile at the same time. I just couldn't give my smart nieces a sequined panda bear sweater, so I got them a charm for a necklace instead. Jewelry is girlie, but it's more subtle.
Peggy Orenstein has a new book about that takes on the Princess Culture for girls, Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture. (An excerpt of the book is here.) I found the history about pink and blue dichotomy interesting. ReelGirl sums up Orenstein's argument. My buddy, Erin, often writes about the disturbing messages to girls in the media at her blog, Marketing, Media and Childhood.
How harmful is all this pink and glitter? It's hard to get too worried when girls are surpassing boys in the classroom and in the workplace. Would a room full of pink push my nieces off the student council and off the soccer field? Probably not, but it does require more effort by parents to counteract the princess message.